Ohio’s barley growers just landed a key bit of support to help them promote their business.

The Federal Crop Insurance Corp. is giving Ohio a Malt Barley Endorsement, an increased level of insurance that will allow qualifying farmers to insure barley at a higher price than they currently can.

“This is a breakthrough for Ohio and the Midwest,” said Victor Thorne, co-founder of Marysville-based Origin Malt. “Ohio is the starting point. It’ll be the spearhead to get this insurance to spread elsewhere in the U.S.”

The price that can be used is based on malting barley and not feed barley, as was the only previous option in the state. Thorne said the designation essentially doubles the value of the crop, which is a greater amount of protection for farmers against risk.

Origin Malt, Ohio Corn & Wheat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, the North Dakota Barley Council and consultant and insurance company Watts and Associates worked to get the endorsement approved.

Thorne said it’s the culmination of four years of work. Origin Malt has been working for years to revive malting barley in Ohio and the Midwest to supply the craft beer and distilling industries.

Initial eligibility for the endorsement applies to 35 counties in Ohio, though that is expected to grow both statewide and into Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other area states. The coverage has been available in 11 states prior to this but the easternmost were Minnesota and Nebraska. It also makes barley the only protected winter cover crop in the state.

“This is now the third most protected crop in the state behind corn and soybeans,” Thorne noted.

Source: Dan Eaton, Columbus Business First